Fletcher hails Scotland’s pace invader

Steven Fletcher battles for the ball in Scotland's clash with Georgia at Ibrox
Steven Fletcher battles for the ball in Scotland's clash with Georgia at Ibrox
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STEVEN Fletcher is confident that Andrew Robertson can be the source of many more goals for Scotland.

The left-back’s cross led to the only goal of Scotland’s European Championship qualifier against Georgia at Ibrox on Saturday – visiting goalkeeper Giorgi Loria could only palm the ball to Shaun Maloney, whose shot was saved but eventually went in off defender Akaki Khubutia.

Sunderland striker Fletcher got on the end of another two deliveries from the Hull player, heading one over from a tight angle and being foiled by Loria and an offside flag from a low delivery.

The 20-year-old sent over a number of other crosses that had pace, accuracy and movement and caused problems for the visitors.

Robertson was making his competitive debut for Scotland and winning only his third cap, but he had the confidence to bomb forward at every opportunity.

And Fletcher feels the former Queen’s Park and Dundee United player will provide himself and other Scotland strikers with plenty of ammunition in the years ahead.

The Black Cats forward said: “He’s got a great delivery, you see that week in week out when he’s playing for Hull.

“I think if we can keep him fit and playing for Scotland then we will create a lot of chances and score a few goals.”

Robertson was not the only source of opportunities for Gordon Strachan’s side, with Fletcher helping set up some of the opportunities that fell for Steven Naismith, whose final product fell short of his usual standards.

But Fletcher enjoyed his partnership with the Everton player, who played just off him through the middle.

The 27-year-old, who produced a clever backheel for the best of Naismith’s chances, said: “We’ve been working together from a young age in the Under-21s. We have done it before and have done it in training. So it’s not something strange. It’s been good.

“We’re happy with the performance. We created a lot of chances. If we weren’t creating chances we would start questioning ourselves.

“But we are creating a lot of chances. On another day, a few more would have gone in. If we had got the second goal it would have been a lot more comfortable but we stuck in and got the three points.

“We created a lot of chances and hopefully on Tuesday we can take a few of them.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Maloney feels their dominant performance against Georgia was further evidence of how much more comfortable they are in possession under boss Gordon Strachan.

Maloney said: “It’s something that we are not really known for, a nation that has a higher pass retention and more possession than the other team, but we are slowly trying to change that.

“We are trying to change that throughout the age groups but the most important thing at the moment is the first team and the manager has been speaking about it for the last 12 months or so.

“On Saturday night. it probably came to fruition, but I think it will be a completely different game in Poland, I don’t think we will have as much of the ball as that, but it was certainly enjoyable.

“In the last 10 minutes, we could have probably kept the ball a bit better and maybe not attacked every time we got it, and seen the game out a little bit more comfortably. But maybe I’m nit-picking. I think overall we have got to be pretty impressed with the first 70 minutes.”

SCOTLAND: Marshall, Robertson, R Martin, Hanley, Hutton, Maloney, Brown, Anya, S Fletcher (C Martin 90), Morrison, Naismith (McArthur 80). Subs not used: Gordon, Reynolds, Whittaker, Bannan, Greer, Burke, D Fletcher, Dorrans, Gilks, May. Booked: Morrison, Maloney. Goal: Khubutia 28 og